Delicious and easy vegetarian lasagna roll ups with zucchini and a lighter cheese filling with garlic and parsley. You'll love this simple twist on classic lasagna, it is quicker to make and just as satisfying, plus a great make-ahead casserole! Be sure to check out the tips, step-by-step photos, and video below for these foolproof lasagna rolls.
When it comes to Italian comfort food, the two dishes that come to my mind, hands down, are Eggplant Parmesan and lasagna.
Mmm lasagna! Layers and layers of noodles with perfectly melted cheese and a delicious meaty sauce nestled in between. The ultimate comfort. But, I'll admit that classic lasagna can be a bit time consuming, and perhaps just a tad too rich to serve often (don't get me wrong, we'll have it on occasion.)
If you're looking for a quicker version that happens to be just as tasty, satisfying, and a bit lighter, these vegetarian lasagna roll ups may just be your ticket. My family enjoys these lasagna rolls so much, I've gotten into the habit of making an extra batch to freeze for later (make sure you check out the freezing instructions below!)
Vegetarian Lasagna Roll Ups with Zucchini
At my house, this vegetarian lasagna rolls casserole is lovingly called "fancy lasagna." It does look fancier, but I honestly find it far less time consuming that classic lasagna.
Each noodle is rolled into a parcel carrying a tasty vegetarian lasagna filling. The filling consists of a trio of cheeses--ricotta, goat cheese, and part-skim mozzarella-- with garlic and loads of Italian fresh parsley. I take the opportunity to add thinly-sliced baked zucchini to each lasagna roll up! It's easy enough to add zucchini here because it's shape works with the lasagna noodles, and you can still easily roll each noodle with no trouble. But, baked zucchini here adds heft and extra nutrition to these vegetarian lasagna roll ups. (You can definitely play with other vegetarian options such as summer squash or even baby spinach.)
The finishing touches are some tasty tomato sauce, a sprinkle of shredded cheese on top, and a few fresh basil leaves.
You can arrange the lasagna roll ups flat, with the seam down, in your baking dish (a 9 ½" x 13" casserole dish works well here). But, I love to bake them standing upright, this way the top crisps a little and adds great texture. Either way is just fine!
Now, I have a step-by-step tutorial here and even a video just to show you how simple this vegetarian lasagna casserole is to make.
Step-by-Step for these Vegetarian Lasagna Roll Ups
1. First, give the thinly sliced zucchini a quick brush of olive oil and bake in hot oven for about 10 to 15 minutes. Once the baked zucchini are finished, remove them from oven and let cool a bit. Turn oven heat down for lasagna rolls to 350 degrees F.
2. Meanwhile, cook the lasagna noodles in boiling water according to package instructions and drain when ready (about 10 to 12 minutes or so.) Prepare the cheese filling by mixing ricotta cheese, goat cheese, and shredded mozzarella (I used part-skim or fat free cheeses when it made sense.) Add in garlic and fresh parsley, kosher salt, pepper and a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil.
3. Assemble the lasagna rolls from here. Spread cheese filling on cooked lasagna noodles. Add one slice of baked zucchini on top
3. b. Roll lasagna noodles (it helps to keep the seam down until you are ready to move the lasagna rolls to the casserole dish.)
4. Pour a good amount of pasta sauce + ½ cup of water in the bottom of your casserole dish. Add the lasagna rolls in (I like to arrange mine standing upright, but you can lay them flat with the seam down, either way.) Top with more pasta sauce, grated parmesan and mozzarella.
Bake in 350 degrees F for about 40 minutes or until the cheese is well melted and you get just enough crisp on top. It helps to check part-way through and if liquid is needed, add a little more pasta sauce or water.
Prepare ahead and freezing tips for Lasagna Roll Ups
These lasagna roll ups are a great dish to prepare the night before and refrigerate until ready to bake. You can also freeze portions or all of it as needed. Here are my tips for that:
1. To make just one night ahead, assemble the lasagna rolls in your baking dish with the tomato sauce etc, but do not bake. Simply cover tightly and refrigerate overnight until ready to bake.
2. To freeze unbaked lasagna roll ups, follow assembly instructions completely and place in your baking or casserole dish (most baking and casserole dishes are freezer safe, but you should be sure). Do not heat your oven, instead, cover tightly (I use multiple layers to cover, adding foil on) and freeze the unbaked lasagna rolls. Thaw in fridge for 36 hours or so before baking.
3. Leftovers? If you prepare and bake the lasagna roll ups on the same day and end up with some leftovers, you can store them in the fridge in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days. Warm in a medium-heated oven, covered (might help to add a little liquid.)
What to Serve Along this Vegetarian Lasagna Casserole?
Of course, this lasagna can be served as a beautiful side next to things like Italian baked chicken. But if you're looking to use it as a vegetarian main, add a fresh salad like: Mediterranean 3-Bean Salad, Balela Salad, Herb Tomato Salad, or Mediterranean Avocado Salad.
Watch the Video for How to Make these Vegetarian Lasagna Rolls
More Recipes to Try:
Simple Mediterranean Olive Oil Pasta
Italian Skillet Chicken with Tomatoes and Mushrooms
Moussaka: Greek Eggplant Casserole
Quick Roasted Tomatoes with Thyme and Feta
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Vegetarian Lasagna Roll Ups
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: 14 rolls 1x
Vegetarian lasagna rolls with zucchini and a lighter cheese mixture with garlic and parsley, baked in pasta sauce. A twist on the classic that is every bit as delicious and satisfying. Be sure to check out the tips and video in the post.
- 3-4 large zucchini, thinly sliced length-wise
- Extra virgin olive oil (I used Greek Private Reserve olive oil)
- 1 lb lasgana noodles
- 1 24-oz jar pasta sauce, preferably a tomato and basil pasta sauce
- ½ cup water
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
For the Cheese Filling
- 20 oz ricotta cheese, you can use part-skim or fat-free if you prefer
- 6 oz goat cheese
- 2 cups part-skim shredded mozzarella, more for later
- 1 bunch Italian parsley, stems removed, chopped (about 1 cup chopped parsley leaves)
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh garlic
- Salt and pepper
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I used Private Reserve Greek olive oil)
- First, bake the zucchini. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Brush zucchini slices with olive oil on both sides. Season lightly with salt. Arrange on a very large baking sheet (or use two baking sheets if needed). Bake for 10-15 minutes. When ready, remove from the oven and let cool briefly.
- Now, turn the oven heat down to 350 degrees F.
- Meanwhile, cook the lasagna noodles in boiling water with salt according to the package instructions (mine took about 12 minutes or so). As soon as the noodles are cooked through, drain them into a colander and transfer quickly to a pot of cold water to stop their cooking. Drain and lay the noodles flat on a very large tray lined with parchment paper. Set aside briefly.
- Now make the filling. In a mixing bowl, combine together the ricotta, goat cheese, shredded mozzarella, chopped parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. Add a little olive oil, no more than 1 tbsp. Mix well with a spoon until the cheese mixture is well-combined.
- Spread an even layer of the cheese filling on each of the lasagna noodles (begin with a thin layer to make sure you have enough for all the noodles. If you have some of the cheese mixture left, you can always go back and add more). Top the cheese layer with a slice of the roasted zucchini, then roll the noodles tightly, keeping the seam down.
- Prepare a 9" x 13" baking dish. Pour about ¾ of the pasta sauce and ½ cup water into the bottom of the baking dish.
- Arrange the lasagna rolls carefully in the baking sheet in an upright position, then top with the remaining pasta sauce, a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, and more shredded mozzarella, if you like.
- Bake in the 350 degrees F heated oven for 40 minutes. It helps to check part-way through and if liquid is needed, add a little more pasta sauce or water.
- Remove from heat, garnish with fresh basil leaves. Serve with your favorite side salad and maybe some crusty bread.
- Cook's Tip: Feel free to play with the vegetarian filling using a different vegetable like yellow squash or a handful of baby spinach. If you use baby spinach or other leaves, it's best to mix that right in with the cheese filling.
- What to Serve Along? Of course this lasagna casserole can be served as a side. But if you're looking to use it as a vegetarian main, add a fresh salad like: Mediterranean 3-Bean Salad, Balela Salad, Herb Tomato Salad, or Mediterranean Avocado Salad.
- Tips To make one night ahead, assemble the lasagna rolls in your baking dish with the tomato sauce etc, but do not bake. Simply cover tightly and refrigerate overnight until ready to bake.
- Tips to freeze unbaked lasagna roll ups, follow assembly instructions completely and place in your baking or casserole dish (most baking and casserole dishes are freezer safe, but you should be sure). Do not heat your oven, instead, cover tightly (I use multiple layers to cover, adding foil on) and freeze the unbaked lasagna rolls. Thaw in fridge for 36 hours or so before baking.
- Tips to Store Cooked Leftovers.If you prepare and bake the lasagna roll ups on the same day and end up with some leftovers, you can store them in the fridge in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days. Warm in a medium-heated oven, covered (might help to add a little liquid.)
- Visit The Mediterranean Dish shop to check out the BEST extra virgin olive oil oils and all-natural and organic spices.
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 40 mins
- Category: Entree
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: lasagna rolls, lasagna roll ups, vegetarian lasagna rolls
Zucchini roll ups are really good. How do you substitute eggplant for zucchini?
Hi, Carol. We actually have an Eggplant Rollatini recipe you should check out!
LOVE this recipe…. And almost everything I’ve tried from this site. Thank you Suzy.
This time, I left out goat cheese and instead added sautéed spinach, and thinly sliced squash, zucchini AND celery (all ) and crushed red pepper and other dried Italian spices. I wish I could send you the picture .. Thanks for the inspiration.
Thanks for sharing! Glad you enjoyed it!
Hi Suzy, will have to try this. I have made my own zucchini lasagna without noodles, by using the zucchini as the noodles which makes it even lighter. I'm not against wheat noodles, but as I had plenty of zucchini from my garden, was trying different ways to use it. Love how you rolled the noodles as apposed to layering them. Will definitely do this recipe.😃
Hope you enjoy it, Carol!
Yummy!!! After I used up all the zucchini slices, I still had some noodles and cheese left. I chopped up some baby spinach, stirred it into the chese mixture (also added oregano), spread that on and rolled them up. They were every bit as good as the ones with zucchini. Better yet, we had enough leftovers for another night. Great recipe!! Definitely a keeper, but then, I haven't tried one of your recipes that wasn't. Thanks a bunch!!
Awww! Thanks, Margaret 🙂
Hi Suzy, we made this this week and it was so tasty, a very enjoyable dinner and leftovers. I had a question- love the cheese filling, but wondered if it might be improved by a couple of tablespoons of fresh lemon juice to brighten it up somewhat. Any thoughts? Thanks!
Hello- I don’t like goat cheese but every other cheese - I like to cook but unfortunately I’m not creative and don’t have that gift to think on my own !! 🙂 what cheese do you recommend to substitute for goat cheese?
Hi Suzy, I made this with homemade pasta and mushroom marinara last night and it was outstanding. I had to lie my rolls down though as my casserole dish was too large to stand the rolls up, and I need to remember to make my lasagna noodles more narrow for that to work as well. What size casserole dish do you use for that presentation? I really love it.
Do you have any suggestions for what to with extra cheese filling? I ended up with quite a bit more than needed and this stuff is gold- it tastes amazing but I'm not sure what to do with it, it would be a shame to throw it out.
Thanks for sharing, Valerie! So glad! A couple of ideas to use up any extra cheese fillings. 1) Just toss it with plan pasta (pasta should be just cooked and warm); my kids really like that. 2) Make an indulgent omelet with a bit of the cheese filling folded in.
Hello - I’m actually writing about your recipe for baked artichokes, which looks wonderful. Do you ever substitute the dill with another herb like basil or rosemary? I have so much of that!
Hi Lynne, sure, you can use basil in that recipe.
I have so much zucchini in my garden right now and this sounds like the perfect solution. This sounds so yummy!
Great! This will be perfect to use up those garden zucchini
This looks fantastic. I love good vegetarian versions of the classics. Can't wait to try it.
Yay! so glad
What a great way to make lasagna, I can't believe I have never tried this before this recipe! It was a hit!
Awesome, Noelle! Thanks for sharing.
This is actually one of my all time favorite dishes to make, never tried it less fat I guess its time to cut them calories back for my diet!
Lol! Glad you enjoyed it
We made these for dinner last night and they were absolutely incredible! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!
My pleasure! Glad you enjoyed it
This is such a great way to use zucchini!
It is! I'm so glad you like it!
Love this! Perfect way to change up your classic lasagna game! I loved the freezing instructions too, perfect for those long days when you don't want to spend a lot of time cooking but want a delicious meal!
I'm glad those instructions were helpful to you!